Use tip No. 104 to pipe yellow and lavender pansies.
Airbrush the entire cake green. Add another coat of color to the borders for accent.
Place an oval stencil in the center of the cake, and airbrush strips of orange on the top and sides of the cake.
Pipe small loops of brown icing onto a straw using tip No. 102 to create pinecones.
As a fairly new tool to cake decorators, the airbrush has led to new design techniques and innovations. While there are many types of airbrushes on the market, decorators generally use one of two types. One features a small reservoir on the air gun itself, which holds undiluted liquid color. This type is generally operated with a low-pressure pump. The other type pulls the color directly from interchangeable bottles. This model usually uses a more powerful compressor, which provides more pressure.
No matter which type of airbrush you choose to use, read and follow the manufacturer's suggestions for use and maintenance. Always hang up the airbrush when it is not in use to keep the delicate needle in proper working order. A bent needle causes spritzing or blobbing of color.
It is best to flush the airbrush after each use and before using another color. Use lukewarm water in place of the color, and spray the water onto absorbent paper until the water sprays clear. Old newspapers work well to absorb the water. A thorough cleaning according to the manufacturer's suggested schedule and general-use cleaning will keep your airbrush in good working order.
The airbrush can be used in many different ways for cake decorating. I have found it to be a useful tool for adding color to cake borders. It also allows decorators to easily decorate several cakes and cupcakes in different colors without having to use anything but white icing. When airbrushing, remember that colors will deepen over time, and spraying two light coats of color is better than one heavy coat. Smoothly iced cakes with a delicate icing crust work best when airbrushing.
Add color easily
Rainbows are one of the best designs airbrushes can create. An airbrushed rainbow is so delicate and realistic that I would purchase an airbrush just for that use alone. Other airbrushed scenic backgrounds can help establish the mood of the cake. Airbrushes also are useful to create a variety of different colored flowers. Make up several trays of white icing flowers, and simply airbrush them any color you need.
When airbrushing, you can use stencils to create a shape or scene. To prevent stencils from sticking to soft icing, use a piece of nylon netting on top of the cake, and place the stencil on top of the netting before airbrushing. To help set the icing, chill the cakes by placing them in the freezer for 15 minutes before decorating. Spray the cake immediately after removing it from the freezer. Do not leave the cakes in the freezer for a long period of time because condensation can occur.
If you want to make your own stencils, use thin cardboard or plastic sheets. To be able to remove the stencils easily, make a loop out of tape, and attach it to the stencils. To make the most out of airbrushed cakes, complete the designs with piped flowers, leaves or other decorations.
Practice is very important when learning to use an airbrush. Use a white sheet of paper or white-coated cardboard when practicing. Start with various sized dots, straight and wavy lines, thick and thin lines and overall misting. You can even create signs for the bakery while practicing your new airbrushing skills.
For some ideas, I have created a cake for each season to help get your creative juices flowing. For spring, base ice a round cake with white icing. Pipe white top and bottom borders using star tip No. 14. Then, lightly airbrush the borders lavender. In the center of the cake, airbrush a yellow background. Over the yellow, use tip No. 104 to pipe yellow and lavender pansies. Add green leaves and stems.
On the summer design, base ice a round cake with white icing, and airbrush it green, making the borders a bit darker than the rest of the cake. Add a strip of lattice around the cake using star tip No. 14 and white icing. Accent the lattice by piping small, red rosebuds. Pipe white top and bottom borders with star tip No. 14. Add a bouquet of red roses to the top of the cake using rose tip No. 104.
For the fall cake, the airbrush creates the majority of the design and not just the accents. Base ice a quarter sheet with white icing. Block out an oval section on the top of the cake, and airbrush orange diagonal lines on the top and sides of the cake. Then, place a cat stencil in one corner of the cake, and airbrush the cat black. Add the cat's facial features with a fine-cut paper tube and black icing. Use an orange-stripped icing bag to pipe borders around the oval on the cake top and for the top and bottom borders.
On the winter cake, base ice a quarter sheet cake with white icing. Airbrush a green oval in the center of the cake to create a focal point. Place an evergreen stencil on top of the cake, and airbrush the trees a dark blue for a shadowy effect. In the bottom corner of the cake, pipe a cluster of pinecones.
Use brown icing and rose tip No. 102 to pipe small loops on a straw to create the pinecones. Set the straws in place on the cake using scissors. Add pine needles around the pinecones using grass tip No. 133. In the opposite corner of the cake, pipe a bouquet of red poinsettias.
To create dimension in the flowers, pipe several rosebuds. Then, pipe two elongated petals over each rosebud. In the center of the flower, pipe green, yellow and red dots.
Airbrushes are an easy tool to help speed decorating. They also allow decorators to make more intricate designs and backgrounds. It is well worth your time to master this useful technique.